Former Stoke City full-back Glen Johnson has admitted Xherdan Shaqiri would often go missing during the club’s fight against relegation.
The Potters were relegated from the Premier League last season, but Shaqiri still earned a move to Liverpool, where he has performed reasonably well under Jurgen Klopp.
Should Shaqiri have done better at Stoke? Five key things to know…
- Xherdan Shaqiri signed for Stoke from Inter Milan in 2015.
- The Swiss international was Stoke’s standout player during three years at the club.
- But he could not do enough to prevent Stoke’s relegation from the Premier League last season.
- However, Shaqiri’s former team-mate Glen Johnson has admitted the 27-year-old was never one to hold the ship down.
- Shaqiri scored eight goals and recorded seven assists for Stoke last season, before signing for Liverpool in the summer.
By far and away the best player in Stoke’s team, Shaqiri was often expected to be the man to carry them to safety. But Johnson has admitted the Swiss international was not that kind of player.
“He weren’t one of the lads holding the ship down,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“When things were going well, he’d be a big player for us and he’d perform. When things weren’t going well, then he’d be hit and miss.
“But that was obvious to see, everyone could see that in the games and performances.”
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Johnson is not the first former team-mate of Shaqiri to criticise the Swiss forward for his performances while at Stoke.
Speaking shortly after Shaqiri signed for Liverpool, Charlie Adam told Talksport: “When the chips are down you look at your big players, you want your big players to bring magic in one moment in the season, and at times we felt like the so-called big players in the squad never turned up for us and never performed.
“Yeah, everybody else could help, but for all the plaudits the so-called bigger players were getting from certain members of the management staff last season – they weren’t producing.”
Shaqiri defends Stoke performances
Despite all the criticism which has come his way in the past, Shaqiri has always remained content with the level of his performances at Stoke.
Speaking in September, Shaqiri put Adam’s criticism down to jealousy over his Liverpool move.
“I think it’s just frustration maybe or jealousy because I had a good move,” he told the Evening Standard.
“I was surprised that he spoke like this about me but that is sometimes the character of a player.
“I know what he said was totally wrong because at that time I played there – especially when times were hard – I was there and I was scoring a lot of goals.
“I don’t have to prove Charlie Adam or some people that are speaking about me wrong.
“I’m just a player who wants to work and who does my job every day, the same as I always did.
“I know that people know how good I am – most of the people that understand football know that they are wrong.”